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Volume 6 Pages 1 - 35 (February 1991)

Citation: Chehebar, C. (1991) News from Argentina. IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 6: 17-18

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News from Argentina

Claudio Chehebar

Parque Nacional Naheul Huapi, 8400 San Carlos de Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentina

Searching for the Giant Otter in Northeastern Argentina

The  giant otter Pteronura brasiliensis is perhaps the most endangered species of mammal in Argentina. Locally known as "lobo gargantilla". "arirai" or "nutria gigante", the species has suffered a dramatic reduction in geographic range. Formerly recorded in several locations in both Uruquay and Parano river systems, including sites in the humid Chaco and Ibera region, today is confirmed only in two rivers and tributaries in the northernmost narrow part of the Misiones Province.

Anibal Parera is working there through January and February 1991, searching for any evidence of giant otters and trying to evaluate the status of these tiny and thinly distributed population remnants He is working in the first stage of the project in the Inguazu and Urugua-i Rivers, which run through sub tropical jungles (continuation of the south -brazilian Atlantic forests).

The project has the financial support of the Argentinean FUCEMA (Foundation for the conservation of Species and the Environment). Additional support is vital - and welcome - for continuation of this project.

Otter skins : Illegal traffic being fought in Argentina

The Direction Nacional de Fauna Silvestre (DNFS) - (Wildlife Service) of Argentina has been active during the last months in some important operations against illegal traffic. In the course of these operations, it has become apparent that a certain amount of otter-skins illegal traffic still persists in Argentina. According to information provided to the OSG by DNFS authorities, and to newspaper releases, otter skins were found in three warehouses in Buenos Aires city, in 1990 and late 1989. In two of them, were found crude and tanned skins of Lutra longicaudis. In the other, were found 240 skins of giant otter Pteronura brasiliensis (presumably from some neighbouring country, since no large population remains in Argentina); 71 skins of Lutra longicaudis; 2 coats of Lutra longicaudis and 1 coat of Pteronura brasiliensis.

Worrying as these finds are, at the same time there is some hope now because - after many years of inaction - official authorities seem to battle against illegal traffic.

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